Category: Depression

Is the VA Mental Health Scheduling System Gamed? Senators Seek Audit

WASHINGTON — Frustrated by the numerous reports of veterans unable to receive timely mental healthcare at VA facilities, legislators have called for the VA Office of the Inspector General to conduct a formal audit of wait times. Sen. Patty… Read More

Suicide Rate Drops but Veterans Still Struggle to Get Mental Health Care

WASHINGTON — Reports about suicide prevention constantly focus on the difficulty veterans have in receiving mental healthcare, even though the suicide rate is dropping. In fact, there is little disagreement that the suicide threat is greatly diminished in veterans who… Read More

VA’s Mental Health Care As Good or Better than Private Sector Study Finds

WASHINGTON — Veterans with mental illness and substance abuse cost nearly three times as much to treat as the average veteran. According to a VA-commissioned study by the RAND Corp. looking at data from one year of care (2007), such… Read More

Study Examines Association Between DHA Levels and Suicide Risk

WASHINGTON, DC — Diet impacts far more than waistlines and the risk of obesity. In fact, the military has been paying close attention to not only the role of nutrition in maintaining physical health, but also how it relates to… Read More

Study: Common Medication Given for PTSD Has No Benefit

WASHINGTON — An antipsychotic medication commonly used by VA to treat combat-related PTSD has been found to have no discernible benefit. Patients taking the drug risperidone (Risperdal) did no better than those taking a placebo, according to a recent VA-run… Read More

Long Wait Times for Mental Health Care Continue to Plague VA

WASHINGTON — Poor coordination and staffing problems were identified as major factors in veterans’ receiving inadequate care at Atlanta VA Medical Center mental-health clinics, according to a VA Inspector General (IG) report released last month. This report is the latest… Read More

Think VA’s Budget Has Grown Rapidly? You May Not Have Seen Anything Yet

VA’s medical-care budget has grown rapidly since 2001 —$27 billion or 130% — but government budget officials suggest that is a minor increase compared to what is coming: the lifetime costs of treating troops who have returned from Iraq and… Read More

President to Send Suicide Condolence Letters

WASHINGTON, DC— Families of servicemembers who commit suicide will now receive condolence letters from the President, just as families of troops who die in combat or of other service-related injuries currently do. This reversal of a long-standing White House policy… Read More

Difficulties in Detecting Schizophrenia Can Have Serious Consequences in Military Setting

An Army private, who recently was sentenced by a military court to 12 ½ years in prison for the murder of an Afghan detainee, walked into a cell at a U.S. outpost in Afghanistan and shot the sleeping prisoner, according… Read More

Physical Ailments Begin Immediately After Deployment in Young Veterans with PTSD, Substance Abuse Disorders

WASHINGTON — Young veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan who are diagnosed with PTSD or substance-use disorders (SUD) are more likely to suffer from a host of physical ailments, particularly musculoskeletal disorders, according to study data recently released by VA… Read More

Congress Asks: In Wake of Court Ruling, Should VA Do More to Push Troubled Veterans Into Treatment?

WASHINGTON — Does VA need to employ more aggressive tactics when it comes to getting veterans struggling with PTSD, depression and s ubstance abuse into treatment?  Should some of those tactics involve using disability benefits as an incentive to receive… Read More

New Toolkit Advises Providers on Care of mTBI Patients With Additional Conditions Such as PTSD, Pain

Use short, simple sentences. Summarize key points throughout the appointment. These are among the tips that a recently released toolkit recommends to providers treating military personnel with mTBI who are also suffering from co-occurring health conditions. The care… Read More

Psychiatric Issues in HCV-Infected Veterans Must Be Managed With Underlying Disease

Managing the physical disease alone is not enough with veterans infected with hepatitis C and who also have high rates of mental health conditions. Addressing the psychiatric issues is especially critical when interferon-based therapies—where depression is a contraindicatio—are the preferred… Read More

Indian Tradition of Family Care Can Delay Diagnosis, Help for Caregivers

WASHINGTON, DC—Risks for dementia are on the rise among American Indian and Alaska Natives (AI/AN), but cultural traditions sometimes have led to delayed diagnosis and, therefore, inadequate help for family caregivers, according to Indian Health Service (IHS) experts. “I think… Read More

TBI Symptoms, Severity Differ for Women Veterans But Cause Remains A Mystery

WASHINGTON, DC—As more data is emerging on the short and long-term effects of traumatic brain injury (TBI), researchers are discovering that the injury affects women differently than it does men. Most notably, there seems to be a differential pattern of… Read More

VA Spending on Chronic Diseases Reflects Treatment Changes Over Last Decade

WASHINGTON, DC—The fastest growing segment of patients treated at the nation’s VA facilities are those with four or more chronic diseases, increasing from 15% to 22% in an eight-year period ending in 2008, according to a recent study. That contributed… Read More

List of Goals Guiding VA, DoD in Integrating Mental Health Care

WASHINGTON, DC—VHA and DoD have already recognized that they serve the same patients, just at different times during their lives. But it is only during the last few years that the two departments have thought of themselves as a true… Read More

Residential Treatment Program Offers Hope for PTSD Patients

WASHINGTON, DC—Active duty servicemembers with combat-related PTSD who have not experienced improvements in their condition in outpatient care have a new option for treatment. Overcoming Adversity and Stress Injury Support (OASIS) is the Navy’s first residential program for servicemembers with… Read More

Military Leaders Emphasize Need to Build Resilience in Troops and Families

WASHINGTON, DC—Building resilience in servicemembers must start when they enter basic training and must include their families, said Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Navy Adm Michael Mullen. Mullen spoke at the annual Warrior Resilience Conference held by the… Read More

DoD Examines Peer-to-Peer Support Programs to Assist Struggling Servicemembers

WASHINGTON, DC—Some individuals in distress may be more comfortable sharing their struggles with a peer than with a mental health counselor. Formalized peer-to-peer support programs seek to capitalize on that by training peer supporters to provide guidance and resource links… Read More